Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What Onam Sale Statistics Tell Us About Life in Contemporary Kerala?

Kerala's liquor sale and consumption break record this Onam season:news

THIS ONAM week’s most interesting news came in the form of statistics. Yes, dry statistics about sales. Sale of liquor vis a vis sale of food articles in the state’s major public sector outlets for the two, namely the Kerala State Beverages Corporation and the Civil Supplies Corporation respectively.

According to official figures, the sale of liquor in Beverages Corporation outlets in the two weeks up to Onam was to the tune of Rs. 145 crore, while that of food items was around Rs. 200 crore in Civil Supplies shops. Both did register some increase but in the case of liquor the increase was to the order of a staggering one third compared to last year’s sales. Those who know about the business say that if you add the massive sale in retail outlets like toddy shops, bars, and plain hooch, etc, the consumption of spirits in this Onam season would prove to be phenomenal.

No wonder one could see huge crowds around the Beverages Corporation outlets almost every time of the day during the past weeks and I have never seen such crowds even outside the cinemas where a Mammootty or Mohanlal blockbuster is freshly released.

What does it say about us?

Well, one thing it tells us is that the present-day Malayali would not let go of his bottle of rum or brandy even if his daily bread is not forthcoming. Watching the milling crowd around liquor outlets, one can safely say that they do care for their daily drink much more than their daily bread. Most of them are comrade workers, hugely addicted to the one passion that keeps them going. Perhaps revolution does not give them any real kick nowadays.